Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pedal in the Park

Get acquainted with the scenery and the growers in Cuyahoga Valley National Park while getting your daily dose of exercise on Sunday, August 29. It’s the 1st Annual Farm ‘N Barn Bike Tour. There are three-levels of people-powered trips; a 12 mile route that starts at 10 AM; an extended 32 mile version that rolls out at 8 AM; and for the fittest and most ambitious, also leaving at 8 AM, a 52 miler. Expect a mix of flat paved trail and somewhat challenging hills.

All trips, which begin and end at Sarah’s Vineyard on Steels Corner Road in Cuyahoga Falls, make stops at rehabilitated working farmsteads scattered around the Park. They are part of The Countryside Initiative a project that aims to bring back the small scale agriculture that was once part of life in the Valley. You can find out more about this pioneering program in an article I wrote for Cleveland Magazine .

There will be refreshments and mini-tours at every farm and a lunch cookout at the end of the ride. As an added perk massage therapists will be on hand to help pedalers who need some hands on help after the work-out.

Register online. Once you pay your fee ($30-$40) you’ll receive a detailed map. Visit four farms and earn $5 back in the form of tokens for use at the Countryside Farmers Market. This time of year vendors offer an astonishing array of good fresh things to eat . Which reminds me: the day before the ride, Saturday August 28 from 9 AM-Noon is the annual tomato tasting at the Farmers Market. Sample around 30 varieties- I promise you’ll be amazed.

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